Sony patents tech to block used games

Technology giant submits application for "Electronic Content Processing System" that would tie individual game discs to one user account.

by

Sony has researched and patented new technology that could be implemented to block used games. As spotted by a NeoGAF user, patent application number 20130007892 for an "Electronic Content Processing System" and "Use Apparatus" would associate individual game discs with matched user accounts.

Games that are discovered to be tied to another user's account could potentially be rejected. The system works, according to the document, by attaching contactless RF "tags" to each game, which can be read without a network connection.

The filing does not mention any specific system for its use. However, past speculation suggested Sony was interested in curbing secondhand sales with the PlayStation 4.

"A game playing system includes a use permission tag provided for use in a game disk for a user of a game, a disk drive, and a reproduction device for reproducing the game," reads a line from the patent's abstract. "The disk drive reads out a disk ID from the game disk. When the game is to be played, the reproduction device conveys the disk ID and a player ID to the use permission tag. The use permission tag stores the terms of use of the game and determines whether a combination of the disk ID and the player ID conveyed from the reproduction device fulfills the terms of use or not."

In the patent filing, Sony said in a content business like the games industry, it is "vital" to redistribute a portion of the proceeds from sales to developers, who do not see a dime from secondhand sales. Sony said though the secondhand market may expose new gamers to a particular title, in the long run, this does not benefit developers.

"In such a scheme where the electronic content is bought and sold in the second-hand markets or the like, the sales proceeds resulting therefrom are not redistributed to the developers," reads a line from the filing. "Also, since the users who have purchased the second-hand items are somehow no longer potential buyers of the content, the developers would lose their profits otherwise gained in the first place."

Sony said this patent would effectively "suppress" the secondhand game market if it ever comes to fruition. This technology would also be applicable to other forms of electronic content, including images and music.

The patent was originally applied for in September and was published today. It does not necessarily indicate that Sony will, in reality, block or in any way prohibit gamers from playing secondhand titles on the PS4 or any other device.

The used-game market has been a contentious issue, with several noted developers making clear their stance against secondhand sales. Those who spoke out against used sales in the past year include Crysis developer Crytek's director of creative development, Rasmus Hojengaard (though he quickly recanted), Battlefield 3 executive producer Patrick Bach, ex-THQ executive Richard Browne, Elite creator David Braben, Volition design director Jameson Durall, and Silicon Knights founder Denis Dyack.

Not all voices are against used games. Saber Interactive CEO Matthew Karch said in February 2012 that blocking used games is unfair. Also during that month, Witcher developer CD Projekt Red's managing director, Adam Badowski, took a populist gamer stance, saying systems that block used games "can be a bad thing."

Discussion

1751 comments
James11222
James11222

Microsoft and Sony have both dropped their plans for trying to remove the rental or reuse of games for their consoles.
Buying a PS Video Game disc to just play it a couple of times  is too expensive for many folks. It's just as easy to rent video games. Can't help much for the US you could try Gamefly, but for Canada have a look at mychoicevideo.com

Ta1nted_4ngel29
Ta1nted_4ngel29

uh, you people do realize that companies patent things so they can't be used by other companies?

BlizzardHalfmoo
BlizzardHalfmoo

I won't be getting a PS4 or the next Xbox.  The WiiU will be my Next gen Console, and I already have that.  If I can't play used games, I don't need either of those other consoles.  it's just stupid.  Microsft and Sony are just slitting their own throats.

pwc2
pwc2

I think Xbox is planning on doing this too, which is very stupid.

If I buy a widget from ABC, it belongs to me, and I can sell or give it to XYZ 

But for some stupid reason, the media(music,movies,software) think they have special rights.

Martell4Life
Martell4Life

This is hilarious for the simple fact that one of the number one supporters over Microsoft Xbox is game stop n now Sony plans to throw them to the curb way to go Sony another fail on your part its only time till you get punched out of the console wars  

nomadski69
nomadski69

This wont go down well in the EU...

Gunbladelad
Gunbladelad

There's a simple solution to this - and that's for gamers to simply vote with their wallets.

If you want to have the option to play second-hand games - for financial or personal reasons - then simply don't buy any format (or game) which has been set up to the detriment of people who prefer the second hand market. 

Elena_The_Turk
Elena_The_Turk

PS4 - No used games allowed

3 months later - Hackers release device or software to circumvent this 'used game' lockout...

Sony - PWNed

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

im sure it will be the same with the new XBOX..

we need to stop this before it happens. everyone needs to protest there right to sell what u pay for! what will this do to the game rental stores and game returns? 

its a stupid idea. i really hope it never happens!

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

that sux! so if u dont like a game u cant get rid of it and it becomes usless! what a waste!

stupid idea sony!

Mr-Possible
Mr-Possible

Sony are getting none of my money. Everyone hates on EA (me being one of them) but this is downright wrong. This is a terrible move for sony and i for one hope it will come back and bite them. We gamers need to show sony that making games is about pleasing the audience and not there bank manager.

6orange6
6orange6

I think we need a court case where patents and tech hardware are banned from being within 500 feet of each other, for life.

N4o7A
N4o7A

Hmmmmm, maybe it's time to switch fully to PC... idk

ragnarok125
ragnarok125

I am so sick of everything being about MONEY. That is all that matters in the world now, its not about making the people happy or less poor, its about making sure every corporation is making billions of dollars. Sony, I hope you go bankrupt one day.

kyle756
kyle756

being able to sell used items is a protected right, if they do this its blatantly illegal. I kinda want them to do it, just so it can to a US court, and allow us to bring up the issue of how the sell of used "digital" goods is also prevented, which they have been able to treat as a legal grey area for years, customers will only be willing to take so much abuse. And frankly new game sales will go down, if people aren't able to get some of their money back to spend again, so horrible business sense on top of unchecked greed

gothicman
gothicman

Well Sony, you have lost yet another customer.  Congrats on that.  Oh by the way, this is why you got hacked.  I guess you will never learn from your mistakes.

kothos
kothos

So, yeah... if Sony implements this, they get none of my money.

kothos
kothos

Not to mention that new games only stay in stores for a six months or so.  What happens if I want to buy the latest Uncharted but don't have the money for a while??? All of the sudden I can't buy it in a brick and mortar store and have to resort to buying it online and having to wait a week or two for my game to arrive?  What a bunch of crap.

mischiefmeerkat
mischiefmeerkat

well then no PS4 for me. you listening sony? i'm not gonna buy it. you lose.

I'm sure millions of braindead videogame addicts will line up for it no matter how harsh and intrusive your DRM is...but not me

HBMegaman
HBMegaman

I understand that deveolpers do not get anything from secondhand game sales, but they make money hand over fist on the sales on the new product at approx. $60 a game.  Once we, the consumers, buy a game, it is ours to do with as we please.  We can play it, sell it, destroy it, give it to a friend, let people borrow it, etc.  It becomes the property of the consumer.  Its not like the developer is going to come to my house and say "You haven't logged enough hours in this game you bought, we are taking it back".

moostified1
moostified1

When Check Trader's lines are full of Sony employees in major parts of Japan, I'm sure they'll rethink that Patent idea.

Victorious_Fize
Victorious_Fize

WTF

I owned everything PlayStation and kept being as loyal as a fanboy gets. And let me tell, I was raped multiple types by you.

BUT, this is THE last straw. Nobody is going to take my FREEDOM!

I WILL go PC!

Or maybe just a pirated PS4, either works.

Metal_Jaws
Metal_Jaws

Sony sony sony... Please don't go so stupid you force me to jump ship. I am a pretty loyal PS fan, and other than losing certain franchise titles, this is the ONE thing that would make me walk away from them. Squeeze the lemon too hard and you run out of juice. Listen to your consumers, WE DONT WANT THIS!!!  Those new consoles comingout from new companies(i.e. steam) sound more and more appealing if this trend continues to have life.

externalpower
externalpower

Yea, Sony probably got this patent and are not going to use it. pff.

OB_Shah
OB_Shah

No One said they are going to use this tech on ps4 here at the last part it said this :

"The patent was originally applied for in September and was published today. It does not necessarily indicate that Sony will, in reality, block or in any way prohibit gamers from playing secondhand titles on the PS4 or any other device".

there sony isnt that dumb hope fully and if it ever come to this and my ps4 gets broken or etc SONY will have to replace all our games then for newones LOL but they wont use this tech at all sure about it

Sakuban
Sakuban

Most moronic idea i've ever encountered in years! Congrats Sony for trying to punish your own console sales and punishing the customers!

So if someones ps4 is stolen or accidentally broken his/her games are useless too? And wth is wrong with playing the used games anyway? I can lend a book, a comic, a dvd to my friends but not a video game? What a crap!

davidAG
davidAG

The only thing DRM, especially always online DRM, is simply harm legitimate consumers and dissuade potential consumers from purchasing a product. I wonder how many people opted not to buy Diablo III because of the always online DRM, or Far Cry 3 for the PC, or are not going to buy the new Sim City because of the always online DRM as well. That sony has patented technology that would block a game from being played on a different console than the one it is registered to seems like a move that would prove disastrous if they chose to incorporate it into their next gen console. I'm sure they think it would be a good idea, but really they'll just further invigorate the act of piracy and alienate potential consumers and drive them to alternative brands and products that carry the same titles and most games these days are multi-platform with a few exceptions.

eb8k
eb8k

For example if a person buy a ps4 and buy a lot of games

and if this person's ps4 gets stolen (not the games) and he buys another one

then he will have to buy new disks too, to be able to play his old games

This is so RIDICULOUS 

eb8k
eb8k

SONY will fail like UBISOFT

companies cannot stop PIRATES

Olex2011
Olex2011

If Sony will integrate such technology in next gen console, it will be company's worst mistake ever made.

OldKye
OldKye

The world should learn from CD Projekt RED with the Witcher 2 it has no DRM they include a free copy with the game and upgrade you for free. 

People are ashamed to too Not buy the game and people who download it without paying were and are chastised by the online community.  Some quotes even from sights that hack games "Even if you Pirate games you Buy Witcher 2".

armodillo17
armodillo17

Hey Sony, you want to know what would REALLY reduce the amount of money devs make from their games? Releasing a system that people will boycott because it blocks used games.

Ayato_Kamina_1
Ayato_Kamina_1

Moves like this just fuel the pirate community. Those hackers will be trying EXTRA hard to "jailbreak" your shiny new console, and when they do, they'll enjoy all those games they can't get second hand, for free :)

Another contentious point with this would be returns.

csward
csward

I hope we get laws like in Europe (did I just say that?) where we are allowed to, by law resell video games, digital or otherwise.

The sad thing is, all this will do is expedite the transfer of people from console gaming to mobile and PC gaming. 

csward
csward

Gosh, what's next, chips in our cars so we can't resell them? How about chips in our furniture,  clothes, art, guns, ect? Get over it Sony, or I'm not buying a console this generation.

cephas90
cephas90

"vital"  they say.  Suuuuure.

TriggerManX97
TriggerManX97

As an xbox gamer i can say thank you to sony for patenting this and not letting microsoft use, it means I can buy used games in the next generation of consoles

bdiddytampa
bdiddytampa

I think a better course of action would be to keep the second hand market but give a portion of the used game sale profit to the developers, rather than cutting out the used game market all together... IDK this is a tough issue for me, being in software myself, I would hate to not get paid for my work lol, as anyone would in any profession, but this type of tactic is not the answer.

 

On another note, I think it's all gonna be going digital in the future anyway, so maybe this is a non issue...

vatorus
vatorus

A patent application is not the same as a patent being issued.  This is just an application for a patent, no patent has issued so Sony did not patent anything yet.  I'm a patent attorney and the headline is misleading.

jch30920
jch30920

Most decent games require an online pass to even play the games online in the first place, which is why I usually only buy new games. This is, however, one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. 

radcrab123
radcrab123

Well looks like its time to call the hackers to fix this

EL_Bomberdor
EL_Bomberdor

@BlizzardHalfmoo  

WiiU isnt next gen... it wont play next gen games so it ISNT next gen... hardly plays any current gen.

PhotonFlux
PhotonFlux

@Metal_Jaws I agree Sony are acting like idiots. The PS3 was the last Sony console I will ever buy. Steam box for me now. Bye bye Sony.

sidewinder_na
sidewinder_na

@Metal_Jaws Agreed' but you've left certain other reasons, why they're making these decisions- the era of stationary consoles draws closer to it's end, and with the vita stuck at being an awesome handheld no one is willing to buy or develop for, they're scared. for real. So they start making stupid decisions

DeathCrusher91
DeathCrusher91

@eb8k I think the games you buy will be 'linked' to your psn account.Still, a bad move for sony and, I won't buy a console that uses such stupid methods.


Sorry for my english

gamergath
gamergath

@Olex2011 I second that comment. Why stop something so good to the less fortunate in "mulla"! Disaster I see...

megakick
megakick

 @vatorus Sony the company that developed the ROOT KIT? You don't think they will use it? Wishful thinking.

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

 @jch30920 PC online games are different, you have to show away you have the original game in the disc drive and or that the copy of the game you are using is the original. Or else you could just pass the disc on and on while tech still playing it.

Same for console online.

I mean there are still alot of games you can buy for pc used but all of them, most all of them are not online. Bioshock, mass effect, mcgee alice.

But this would prevent YOU from giving away or selling something that you paid for to another, after which you no longer use.

 

What if my new shoes are too small for my feet, I bought em, tried it, didn't like it, gave it to my cousin who does, he gave me some naked pics of his girlfriend as thanks. Dammit man that is america.